HUTCHISON VALE boss Andy Enwood is confident his side have the quality to remain in the Scottish Women’s Premier League – even if proposals to reduce the number of top level teams are accepted.
Plans are at an advanced stage to reduce the number of teams in Scotland’s top league to just eight, meaning that a third of clubs could face relegation this term. Hutchie have finished ninth in the last two campaigns but Enwood believes his side can push on and secure their SWPL status.
“There are pros and cons to the proposals being put forward.” he commented. “They’re trying to make the top level more competitive and avoid some embarrassing scorelines. However, they must be careful not make the divide between the top clubs and the rest even bigger.
“It’s likely that the new structure would make it even harder for the team being promoted to stay up and they would almost certainly drop back down after one season.
“As a club, we don’t fear these changes because we are confident of doing well this season and pushing on from last year.
“We are targeting being top of the bottom six if not breaking into the top half.
“Last season, we struggled with attacking options but we have made a few signings to address this to give ourselves a real shot.”
Hutchie have recently announced that they will pay their players’ expenses for the coming season, thus reducing the significant financial burden on the girls who until now have had to pay to play.
The move will cost the Black and Yellows around £15,000 a year in lost revenue and club leader Tam Smith admits the decision wasn’t financially based but was aimed instead at ‘doing the right thing’,
He said: “Over the years, Hutchie has lost some of our better players to Hibs, Spartans and the likes, but hopefully this will give us the opportunity to hold onto our better players by offering them a better structure.
“The first-team squad will all receive £400 each which isn’t coming from grants or sponsorship, so the club will take the hit. However, it’s not about the money – it’s about doing the right thing for the girls.
“Hutchison Vale are rightly regarded as one of the best, if not the best boys’ clubs in Scotland, and we want our girls’ teams to reach the same levels.
Hutchie kick off their 2015 campaign this Sunday when the face Forfar Farmington at Station Park in the first round of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup.